National Statement Delivered by Ambassador Byrne Nason at UNSC Briefing on Libya - UNSMIL
Statement28 January 2021
Thank you very much indeed, Mr. President, and I want to thank the Acting SRSG Williams for her excellent briefing this morning.
I want to start by congratulating you Stephanie and your team for the critical work that you have been doing, are doing on the ground in Libya. Your tireless efforts and those of course of all the Libyan partners have paved the way for the significant progress we are hearing about today. As this is your last briefing to us on this issue, I wanted to express our sincere gratitude, and also to both professionally and personally to wish you well Stephanie.
Mr. President, it is rare enough at this table that we remark on what is definitely described as tangible progress in a complex situation. Today is one of those rare occasions, so I want to recognise all those who have contributed to the concrete progress that we have heard today right across the political, security, economic, international humanitarian law and human rights tracks. We believe that this progress has helped move Libya further along the path to peace, stability and development. Frankly, it gives us hope for the Libyan people.
Let me assure our Libyan friends that Ireland, the European Union and the international community will remain committed to accompanying you, to accompanying Libya, along that path, as we move into a critical phase leading up to elections next December.
Ireland sincerely welcomes the appointments of Ján Kubiš as Special Envoy of the Secretary-General, of Raisedon Zenenga as Mission Coordinator and of Georgette Gagnon as Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator. Under this new leadership, we see three main priorities.
First is the establishment of a credible, realistic and effective ceasefire monitoring and verification mechanism. We welcome the parties’ continued resolve to implement the provisions of the ceasefire agreement and to agree on the operation of a Libyan-led and Libyan-owned Ceasefire Monitoring Mechanism. Ireland also strongly supports the Secretary-General’s request to the Council to give UNSMIL a clear but flexible mandate to enable the Mission to support the mechanism.
We welcome the continued and more positive engagement of Libya’s neighbours and regional partners in support of the UN-facilitated intra-Libyan dialogue tracks. We reiterate the need to ensure a single and coordinated international approach in Libya. Frankly, the task of building peace is complex enough, we need a coherent approach.
Ireland echoes the Secretary-General’s appeal to all regional and international actors to respect the provisions of the ceasefire agreement. This includes ensuring the complete departure of all foreign fighters and mercenaries from Libya. More than 90 days after the agreement, this requirement remains unfulfilled, and as we have heard, this is simply not acceptable. It must change. The continued threat of terrorism and violent extremism in North Africa, as set out in the Secretary-General’s report, is deeply concerning.
Serious violations of the Security Council arms embargo have been documented, both in the report of the Panel of Experts, as well as in the information provided to the Panel by Operation IRINI, whose work Ireland and its EU partners strongly support. These violations must cease. We call on all actors to now heed the call in the ceasefire agreement for the full and unconditional respect for the arms embargo. This Council has a responsibility to ensure that.
Second, Mr. President, is the need to secure a vote of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) on an executive authority to prepare for those elections on 24 December 2021. Ireland welcomes the 19 January decision to adopt a selection mechanism for a temporary executive authority. This is a means to an end.
It is important now that agreement on the three-member Presidency Council and on the Prime Minister be reached quickly, not least to enable adequate preparations for the December elections.
Ireland commends the Libyan electoral authorities for their successful conduct of municipal council elections, despite the challenging security environment and COVID-19.
We welcome the Government of National Accord’s decision to allocate funds and resources to the High National Election Commission. Ireland is also studying the GNA’s request for UN support for the December elections with interest and we look forward to this Council taking up the matter at the appropriate time.
We remain concerned by the human rights situation on the ground in Libya. Without guarantees for the fundamental rights of the Libyan people, democratic transition will be incomplete. I would like to acknowledge the efforts of UNSMIL and the International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights working group in this regard.
My third point, Mr. President, is the need for progress on the economic and financial prospects for Libya, including the reform agenda, and in particular, to address the crisis in the banking sector and the mechanism on oil revenue management.
Ireland welcomes the recent economic reforms including the re-activation of the Central Bank of Libya’s Board of Directors, the unification of the exchange rate, as well as progress in the financial review of the Central Bank and the recent announcement of the audit of the Libyan Investment Authority. This is progress.
These reforms should help to create a more durable, transparent, and equitable economic arrangement for the benefit of the Libyan people themselves.
In conclusion, I want to reiterate Ireland’s steadfast support for the work of UNSMIL, and for all the efforts underway in the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum. We believe this is a critical moment in Libya’s history. It is a moment for optimism, a moment for hope. We must not underestimate the challenges ahead. One of which is the need to invest in national reconciliation that will underpin work for sustainable peace. This Council has a responsibility to prevent spoilers, be they foreign or domestic, from reversing the Libyan peoples hard won peacebuilding gains. We must be ready to take concrete measures, with actions the back up our words, to ensure that happens. We owe at least this, to the people of Libya.
Thank you, Mr. President.